Construction of two mega dams in Elgeyo Marakwet County worth Sh63 billion is finally set to start after more than 900 displaced families agreed to be compensated on a land-for-land basis.
The regional authority implementing the project says it has secured land in Uasin Gishu and Transzoia counties where the families will be shifted to.
Arror dam in Marakwet West and Kimwarer in Keiyo South will cost Sh28 billion with the ground breaking ceremony set for June.
A meeting that brought together leaders and National Land Commission (NLC) chairman Muhammad Swazuri on Wednesday resolved that the affected families will also be paid for all developments on their farms.
Speaking during a consultative meeting held at Iten, Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) Managing Director David Kimosop said 11 farms will be sub divided and allocated to affected families.
“This is a milestone in the development of this region. All genuine people on the affected land will be compensated. Those in critical areas like where the investor will set up camp and machinery will be given more time to move,” said Mr Kimosop.
“The resettlement process will be humane and systematic. Amenities like schools will also be considered,” added Mr Kimosop.
The National Lands Commission is on a two-week tour of Arror and Kimwarer dam sites familiarising locals on the project, distributing the Kenya Gazette and creating awareness on the project.
“All the paperwork and money for affected families have been concluded. We’ve already held 81 consultative meetings with the locals to explain to them everything about the project,” said its chairman, Mr Swazuri.
He said the commission is valuing plots in the project area to determine compensation.
Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono lauded the project, saying it will transform the region economically once completed.
“We, however, call on the NLC to fast-track issuance of title deeds to affected families. We want our people to benefit fully from the project,” said Mr Rono.
The KVDA, through a joint venture between CMC di Ravena and Itenera of Italy with funding from the Italian government, plans to implement the multi-purpose project to generate 60 megawatts of electricity to the national grid and enhance irrigated agriculture.
The contractor is setting up an industrial park and a camp in the two project sites.
Upon completion, the project will see more than 10, 000 acres of land placed under irrigation and provide water for domestic use to over 100, 000 households. The project will cover 4,000 acres.
Mr Kimossop said 50 kilometres of road will also be constructed and 185 square kilometres of land will be under water catchment conservation.
Mr Kimosop asked local leaders to support the initiative which he said will address perennial water shortages.
“All issues raised by the families that will be affected by the construction of the dams will be addressed. Locals will also be given first priority in job opportunities which will arise,” Mr Kimosop said on a tour of Arror dam on Thursday.
Mr Kimosop disclosed that the authority, in collaboration with the regional and national governments, was addressing all the pertinent issues raised by the community.
According to Mr Kimosop, the affected families were willing to swap land as part of the compensation.
“Families have agreed to be compensated with land and measures have been put in place to settle them elsewhere in the next six months,” he added.